NDP to raise B.C. minimum wage by 50 cents

Government says it’s part of a plan to increase the rate to $15/hour in the next four years

B.C.’s minimum wage is going up next month as part of a plan to hit $15 per hour by 2021.

NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains made good on his party’s election promise on Tuesday, saying the rate will go up by 50 cents, to $11.35 an hour, in September. The liquor servers’ wage will go up by the same amount to $10.10 per hour.

The previous BC Liberal government had pledged to boost the minimum wage by 50 cents in February, but Bains panned what he called their slow and unpredictable effort.

“We will give it a legal effect so that it will be implemented Sept. 15,” said Bains.

The rate will go up by “incremental and predictable increases,” he told reporters, with a “responsible, fair approach.”

B.C.’s minimum wage is currently the seventh highest rate out of 10 in Canada. The jump to $11.35 will put it at the third highest. Seattle has also promised to increase its minimum wage to $15.

RELATED: B.C. NDP commits to $15 minimum wage

The province will also start a fair wage commission to help employers prepare, he said, and help minimize the impact on small businesses.

“They can actually look at their structure and costs ahead of time,” Bains said. “Workers will have a few dollars more in their pockets and they will … boost our economy.”

The commission will explore how to settle the discrepancy between the proposed minimum wage and what is called the living wage, or what a family of four needs to earn to cover their basic expenses. The latter differs across the province, ranging from $17/hr mid-Vancouver Island to more than $20/hr in Vancouver.

BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger said she’d like to see the gap between the minimum and liveable wage shrink.

“That is a discussion to be had after we get to $15,” she said. “I’m not in favour of $15 for some and $14 for others because $15 gets you just above the poverty line.”

She added she was pleased with the NDP’s announcement, though she wished the changes were happening faster.

Meanwhile, the head of Surrey Board of Trade said the increase won’t be easy for small business owners.

RELATED: Surrey Board of Trade says minimum wage increase will hit small businesses hard

“We were originally advocates of a minimum wage increase when the Liberals were in power because we’re the lowest minimum wage in Canada as a province and we have the highest child poverty rate in Canada,” Anita Huberman said.

“We were, as a business organization, very different, supporting a minimum wage increase. But the move towards a $15 minimum wage, small business has to prepare now.”

Just Posted

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

LGBTQ advocates turn Victoria SOGI protest into dance party

Counter-protest outnumbers anti-SOGI activists on lawn of B.C. legislature

Tsawout hosts Saanich Peninsula community leaders at blanket ceremony

Reconciliation event meant to share the Indigenous exerience

WATCH:First responders score first, take inaugural Challenge Cup in Oak Bay

Ice hockey game raises funds for Cops for Cancer, encourages positive interaction with youth

Amazing Race Canada kicks off at Hatley Castle

Popular reality TV show will premiere later this year

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Scooter crash leaves Island man with critical injuries

RCMP said a truck was making a left-hand turn when it collided with the scooter travelling through the intersection

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Most Read